The novel coronavirus threatens the health of Canadians, but to some people the pandemic stokes fears of a government plot to subvert freedoms, say experts who study conspiracy theories.
Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic shocks and the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak are events that fuel conspiracy theories, says Edwin Hodge, a sociologist at the University of Victoria who studies far-right extremism.
"Believing that it just happened by accident doesn't work," said Hodge. "One of the things I found that a lot of conspiracy theories do is they provide a sense of order to a chaotic universe."
"What they really hear him say is your constitutional rights don't matter anymore," said Hodge. "Now we're going to separate and isolate you and that's how we're going to get you."
David Black, a communications theorist at Victoria's Royal Roads University, said while the world struggles with an epidemiological crisis, a battle for the truth is raging in a post-truth age where facts and information are often blurred.